Joliet Catholic showed off its big-play capabilities Friday, rolling to a 63-7 win over visiting Marian Catholic in an East Suburban Catholic game at Memorial Stadium in Joliet.
For a program with a rushing tradition, it has been a cool change of pace for the Hilltoppers.
“It keeps teams on edge because they don’t always know what’s coming,” said Joliet Catholic running back Nick Borgra. “We’ve got the athletes to do it and a quarterback who can throw the ball. It really helps.”
Joliet Catholic may be throwing the ball more, but the bread and butter for the Hilltoppers (5-1, 4-0) has not changed.
Borgra took care of showing off the always potent running game, rushing six times for 93 yards and three scores in the first half.
The senior running back scored on runs of three, five and 35 yards as Joliet Catholic took a commanding 56-7 lead at halftime.
“When we make a big play (through the air), it’s huge and opens things up for me in the middle,” said Borgra. “Our linemen tear it up and give me awesome holes. I just read off them. (The balance) is really helping us win games this year.”
Borgra’s runs came as quarterback Cade Earl left his imprint all over the offense.
The junior quarterback finished an efficient 4-of-6 passing for 180 yards and two scores.
Both touchdowns came on play-action. Earl found Harold Davis for a 34-yard strike to open up the scoring in the first quarter.
His second came on a beautiful throw into the wind when Michael Johnson got behind the Marian Catholic defense and ran it in untouched for a 71-yard touchdown reception.
“The play-action works really well because everyone thinks we’re just a running team,” said Earl. “The passing game is working really well right now. Teams are seeing us as a pass threat now too and not stacking the box with nine guys.”
Davis added a 35-yard touchdown run while Drew Voss scored on a three-yard scamper in the first half.
The win sets up a crucial conference matchup with Nazareth, winners Friday over Benet, next week on the road. Both Joliet Catholic and Nazareth are 4-0 in conference.
“We need to give it 100 percent every down and with no turnovers,” said Borgra. “No fumbles, just come out and play our best game.”
Tyrice Richie’s 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the first quarter was the only score for Marian Catholic (1-5, 0-4).
Richie added 48 rushing yards on 10 carries with quarterback Cam Thomas running 11 times for 34 yards.